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It all started in the summer of 1908 or 1909 when Pete Gokey was struck with the idea of starting a hamburger stand. He didn’t have the traditional setting of a multimillionaire restaurant so he had to make do with what he had. The setting was just a table with a kerosene oil stove mounted on top. He would with the help of his assistant pan-fry the burgers and sell them to festivals, fairs, and party-goers on the daily. It may not have been the fanciest of them all but the taste you were given was far above what others were providing. His continuous efforts in pleasing his hungry customers made him an all-time favorite for food lovers. He put passion in his work and it turned a great profit for him in the end. That is how Pete’s Hamburgers was born!
How Pete’s Hamburgers Continued to Grow
His continuous efforts in pleasing his hungry customers made him an all-time favorite for food lovers. He put passion in his work and it turned a great profit for him in the end. That is how Pete’s Hamburgers was born!As time went on, Pete decided he needed to try new options to satisfy his customers depending on the speed of sales. Whenever times got slow and the burgers would dry out on the heat, this would cause a little concern. So, to improvise, he would simply add a little water to marinade with the onion on low heat until they were sold. To his surprise, this new tactic was loved by his customers and ever since they started requesting for it to be this way. Of course, he was doing it right because they kept coming back for second and third fill-ups.
Fast forward to a few weeks down the line, Pete had adopted a new style which gave him a boost in sales and profit. He knew this was the start of a business venture like no other. The business started expanding and the need to have meals ready for the influx of customers was a concern. With this, he utilized his innovative skills and expanded his grill to a larger one where he could produce more. This went on for quite a while until…
Pete’s Hamburgers Today
Today, Pete’s Hamburgers is more than a household name in America (thanks to being featured on several TV shows) but also known across the globe. The permanent joint now stands at the main intersection of Prairie du Chien (Blackhawk Avenue & Beaumont Road). The sign which reads “Pete’s Hamburgers” is still standing to this day. He served his loyal customers for more than 60 years until his death when his son Robert took over. He did his transformation which was however short-lived as he died three years later. His widow and their eight children took over and have ever since being providing tantalizing and mesmerizing meals.
Pete’s menu is nothing like the average restaurant you go to on a daily basis. The meals are prepared with love, care, and passion in a traditional and unique way. The rich texture and aroma the taste provides you after each meal leave you desiring for more…I really think the flavor is enhanced with the burgers simmering in onion and “Hamburger Oil” to make a juicy treat. Their country-style setting is a dazzling array of beauty and peace as you enjoy your meal with friends and family. It gives a taste of nature’s best with every bite you make.
A visit to Pete’s Hamburgers will never be a disappointment! Check them out the next time you are in Prairie du Chien but keep these few things in mind:
- This is a hamburger stand – not a dine in place. You walk up, place your order and find somewhere to eat.
- Pete’s has hambrgers. That is it – along with chips and sodas. No salads, no hot dogs, no cheese.
- Pete’s Hamburger Stand does take credit cards but prefers cash. They charge a small fee for you to use plastic.
- There may be a small wait for your burgers, this isn’t a national chain that precooks a bunch of food in advance.
- It IS possible to get them without onions… that is how Miss Sarah preferred it.
- If Pete’s Hamburgers turns out to not be your thing, check out the “Second Best Burger in town” at Rowdy’s Bar and Grill. They have cheese, fries and pulled pork sandwiches…as well as chairs to sit on. Just look for the bar with the huge sign stating that they are the second best burger in town. We didn’t try it, but cracked up at the sign.
Pete’s Hamburger Stand is at 118 W. Blackhawk Ave., Prairie du Chien, WI
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